CRAWFORD, Texas — A man fired a shotgun into the air as about 60 anti-war protesters held a religious service on the road to President Bush’s ranch.
Sheriff’s deputies and Secret Service agents in the area of the demonstration site Sunday rushed to the home of Larry Mattlage after the shots were fired but did not arrest him.
“I ain’t threatening nobody, and I ain’t pointing a gun at nobody,” Mattlage said. “This is Texas.”
Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., began a protest Aug. 6 on the road that leads to Bush’s ranch in memory of her 24-year-old son Casey, who was killed in Iraq last year. Dozens of others have since joined her.
Sheehan said Sunday she will continue to demonstrate for three more weeks.
Mattlage said he was sympathetic toward the demonstrators at first, but they have blocked roads in the area and caused traffic problems.
He said he fired his gun in preparation for dove-hunting season but when asked if he had another motive, he said, “Figure it out for yourself.”
Sheehan, 48, said she was not concerned with her own safety but has told others to be aware that “this could get physical, even though we are peaceful.”
“I think we knew of the risks when we came down here,” she said. “I’m surprised we haven’t had more of that since we’re in Bush country.”
Sheehan says she won’t leave her makeshift campsite until Bush meets with her and other grieving families or until his monthlong ranch visit ends. She met with two top White House officials on the first day of her demonstration.
Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan but has not said if he will meet with her.
Sherry Bohlen of Scottsdale, Ariz., drove with two friends to Crawford last week but did not leave Sunday as planned.
“This is history in the making, and it’s hard to walk away from that,” said Bohlen, whose son, Thor, has been in Iraq for a month.
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